OCT & DEC 2018: 

Dorcas strives for lasting change for those who live in poverty, are excluded, or are caught in a crisis. For this reason, they have been implementing Cash Based Aid (CBA) in Kurakhove, Donetsk region in Ukraine. Currently they distribute CBA through the local postal system, but they know that there is more potential. Looking for ways to increase impact, they invested their Dutch Relief Alliance innovation funding & led the 121 Direct Cash Aid Pilot in Ukraine in December 2018

The 121 Pilot consisted of two tracks: 

1: Tech Track
2. Human Centered Design (HCD) Track


The goal of the 121 system is Direct Cash Aid, which consists of two components. A: Digital Identity Creation & B: Cash Aid Distribution.

For the Pilot in Ukraine, the prototype focused on the first component: Digital Identity Creation. The prototype was co-created by the 121 tech team: A collaboration between Tykn & 510 (An Initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross)Tykn leads the development of the #DigitalIdentityBackend and 510 leads the development of the #121Frontend and integration into the #121System.

Tykn’s mission is “Providing access to human rights through digital identities. Because people matter.” And that is indeed what they have been working on: bringing privacy, data protection and efficiency to digital identities using blockchain.

510’s purpose is to “Improve speed, quality & cost-effectiveness of humanitarian aid by using data & digital”. It started 121 in 2017 as a way to reach this purpose. It leverages Data Science, Technology and Human Centered Design to create its products.



121 Products are designed with the End users in mind. For the Pilot in Ukraine the end-users were People affected & Aid workers. In October 2018, before the Pilot, 510 together with Dorcas, conducted Co-Design sessions with 18 people affected by the crisis in the region. They also conducted Co-Design sessions with Dorcas Aid workers. The insights from these sessions informed the interfaces & system requirements for the Ukraine prototype and will be added to more insights gathered as 121 Co-Designs further across the globe.

Hover over the parts in the image below & click to learn more about the Prototype created for the 121 Ukraine Pilot.





An essential part of the aid delivery chain is the monitoring and evaluation process, thus a component was built by 510. The component allows to understand the programs operation statistically without compromising people’s privacy, this includes a list of anonymous DIDs that have been registered, the related inclusion score generated by the smart inclusion algorithm among other statistics.



Tykn Digital Identity Backend System matches inclusion criteria to verified identity attributes in a privacy-preserving manner. This has not been done before anywhere let alone in Humanitarian aid.

510  developed the inclusion algorithm that allows the Humanitarian Organisation (HO) to calculate which Persons Affected (PA) are most in need of aid based on their personal information & context in a fast and fair way.

Tykn transforms the verified personal information into proofs that feed in to the algorithm, which returns an inclusion score. This score gets send back to the HO, without any of the personal details.

The only data sets that are saved are the inclusion scores and a random number that identifies the associated PA in a privacy preserving manner.



Tykn’s Digital Identity Backend System eliminates the usage of centralized databases. Why is this good? Because centralized databases are constantly subject to hacks, leaks or breaches. Tykn’s Digital Identity Backend System allows a Humanitarian organization to issue and verify digital identities of People Affected (PAs) without the need to store their personal data. How does it work? By removing the need to reveal any personal data during the identity verification process to be included to receive aid.

When an identity proof is presented, the verifying parties do not need to check the validity of the actual data in the provided proof but can rather use the Sovrin blockchain to check the validity of the attestation and attesting party (such as a Trusted Humanitarian Organisation) from which they can determine whether to validate the proof. 

When an identity owner presents a proof of their date-of-birth, rather than actually checking the truth of the date of birth itself, the verifying party will validate the humanitarian organizations’ signature who issued and attested to this credential, to then decide whether they trust their assessment about the accuracy of the data. The validation of a proof is based on the verifier’s judgement of the reliability of the attestor. Leveraging the Sovrin blockchain guarantees the authenticity of the data and attestations, without actually revealing or storing any personal data on the organisations’ side.



The Tykn Digital Identity Backend System puts the Person Affected (user) in control. This means they control the data as well as which parties they wish to disclose their data to. The user can self-register on their personal phone (or similar device) and create a Digital identity management and access wallet in which they can store their personal details. 

They are then able to request identity verification from the Humanitarian Organisation to receive verified identity credentials which can be stored in their personal identity wallet on their phone. The Person Affected is then able to apply for an aid program digitally, if they so wished. 

Tykn’s Digital Identity Backend System allows them to prove their inclusion for this program. That means the user can create a Needs Assessment proof using the verified credentials in their wallet. The Person Affected is the only one holding the private key of their identity wallet, keeping them in control.



Tykn’s Digital Identity Backend System is built on: Sovrin technology. Why is this good? Because Sovrin’s ledger enables everyone in the network to have the same source of truth about which credentials are valid, which are revoked and who attested to the validity of the data inside the credential, without revealing the actual data.

Sovrin technology, a distributed, global public utility that establishes a self-sovereign identity network. It utilizes the W3C’s Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs) standard and consequently offers an interoperable identity management system back-bone.

The Sovrin blockchain aims to establish trust between all parties in the network and allows for identity issuance and verification in a privacy preserving manner. Sovrin is GDPR compliant as a user is the only one that holds his own personal data. No Personal Identifying Information is put on the blockchain. This is crucial as a distributed ledger has a high degree of immutability, meaning that anything that is put on the ledger can never be altered nor deleted by a single authority. Putting personal data on the ledger not only puts the privacy of the users in danger (as it will constantly be subject to hacking and data breaches), and violates current privacy regulation (e.g. GDPR; right to be forgotten), it is also not efficient because an identity is dynamic (attributes can change over time e.g. house address or number of children). That is why only pointers, which are the Issuer ID alongside the key from the authority who issued the credential, are stored on the Sovrin ledger.



Using Human Centered Design, 510 created Co-Design sessions, that allow for People Affected by Disasters to take the lead on the solutions they want to use in the future.

In these numerous one hour sessions, 510 learns about

  • The Problems encountered due to the disaster
  • The needs of the Person Affected (Informing System Requirements)
  • The solutions they see
  • Their use of technology (Smart Phones/Feature Phones/ Tablets /Computers)


Using Human Centered Design, 510 created Co-Design sessions, that allow for Aid workers in the Disaster Field to take the lead on the solutions they want to use in the future.

In these numerous one hour sessions, the 510 team learns about

  • The Problems encountered in the field
  • The needs of the Aid worker (Informing System Requirements)
  • The solutions they see
  • Their use of technology (Smart Phones/ Tablets /Computers)



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